Nebraska students in limbo as Supreme court decides on student loan forgiveness

The Supreme Court heard from both sides on student loan forgiveness this week.
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:09 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Supreme Court heard from both sides on student loan forgiveness this week. The issue is up to those nine justices on whether President Biden has the authority to get rid of, or reduce, federal student loan debt.

Here in Nebraska, about 370,000 people could be impacted, but a decision is still months away. 10/11 NOW spoke with one college student who’s trying to make the smartest move for his budget during this confusing time.

Brandon Rotherham is a college student at Southeast Community College after two years at Iowa Western. While he continues his college education, he’s waiting to see if any of his student debt will be erased.

Like many Americans, Rotherham jumped at the chance to apply for student loan forgiveness this past fall.

“Twenty-four hours after I actually applied for it,” Rotherham said. “I got another email from them stating, ‘hey, we know you applied but you’re not technically approved, because we’re not technically approved yet is kind of what they were getting at.’”

Since then, it’s been a waiting game. Rotherham said he has about $15,000 in outstanding federal student loans, and he’s not sure when to start making payments.

“I’m in kind of a weird space,” Rotherham said.

There’s a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that could forgive a big portion of his debt. Nebraska is one of six states suing the Biden Administration saying the loan forgiveness plan is a violation of the president’s executive authority. Meanwhile, federal student payments are currently paused, but for borrowers who want to pay them back right now, there’s no interest. Rotherham is left wondering if none of his debt will be forgiven and if waiting for the pause to end will just cost him more money because of interest.

“It would take me at least 10 years to pay off that debt, with all the other debts that I have accruing in life right now,” Rotherham said.

Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers said the Supreme Court case doesn’t come down to whether loan forgiveness is a good idea, but instead, the constitution and separation of powers.

“Is it congress or the administration that has the ability to spend a half a trillion dollars,” Hilgers said.